Star Wars Galaxies merges with Planetside

Have you played Jedi Outcast’s “Jedi Master” mode? In the world of twitch gaming its not very hard to kill a Jedi who only uses a lightsaber by yourself… and if the Jedi is very good you could still do it with like 10 people. Heck, just shoot him from all sides and the only thing he can do is run away :).

After all, there is a reason why a bunch of jedi just died in Episode 3 ;).

But what I want to know, is this for real? And if it is, how will GCW play a role in it? Because if its just PlanetSide with Star Wars stuff or Star Wars Galaxies with twitch, I’ll pass… now if they make it like Huxley with Star Wars, then I’ll play.

I’ve never played SWG, mostly because I prefer games and not worlds (which is why I’m playing CoH right now). However, I am a fan of Star Wars, and if something like this turns out well, I’ll have to go pick it up just to reward them for having the balls to do this.

If only DAOC would do the same with their combat system, I’d be back and resubscribed there before you could say “Relic Raid”…

sounds very intereasting, I never got around to trying SWG, I did try EQ2 trial during the summer. Do you think once they make the changes, they’ll offer trial periods for people?

My “resubscribe” trigger finger is ready to pull if they don’t screw this up. It’s really how it should have been designed from the start.

Yeah, this game looks good… heck, my only ‘disappointment’ is that people’s apartments will be virtual, which I think they should get around to fixing. I want to have real skyscrapers with real apartments already! :)

mostly because I prefer games and not worlds

An interesting way to put it, particularly in light of Origin’s old motto “We create worlds.” I like both games and worlds, if they can be put into the same box; but I will take a little “worldness” on its own from time to time, which is why I sometimes still boot up Unreal just so I can wander around in it to no good purpose.

They need new servers where everyone starts over to attract new players.

Yowch. I haven’t even checked the SOE forums yet but the relative safe-n-sane viewer friendly forums of some of a few old timer roleplaying groups are burning up. This isn’t the first time SOE’s used a “bait and switch” on the players. Seems they were getting newsletters as late as last night promising much anticipated upgrades and changes to the existing system - and then wham! This is exactly how it went, and I was still around for this, with the old Combat Upgrade. This legacy can be traced throughout the history of customer relations in SWG. It’s positively schitzophrenic. You’ve got seemingly engaged and thoughtful devs in the forums or newsletters talking about one thing when something else pops out of nowhere and slaps you upside the head.

The big problem I’m reading about from my friends isn’t the realtime combat, though there are plenty of people who seem to have issues with that - though I’m not certain, by my reading, how twitch-based this really will be - but that they’re taking away custom character creation for templated linear classes. Some of these folks have been playing these characters for years! The last CU was a shock that had them, those that didn’t bail, retooling but this is like wiping the slate entirely. The second big problem is nobody, even the diehards, seem to trust SOE anymore at all. One guy said, “Sure now it’s FPS. What’s tomorrow? Mortal Kombat? Would we ever find out before it happened?”

The sentiment overall is “Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice…uh…won’t get fooled again” to quote somebody I don’t often quote.

Edit: Normally, I don’t much care for lobbyists but when I finally worked up the courage to take a safari into the NGE forums at SWG’s site I found this letter. It seems to nail many of the concerns I was hearing from my friends and contacts offsite in a very lucid way. And this guy really is a lobbyist. In DC.

http://forums.station.sony.com/swg/board/message?board.id=nge_discussion&message.id=1101

I swear, you may have folks saying they’re excited about these changes who don’t play the game but odds are, even if they like the new system and believe-you-me that’s a big if, how long are they going to stick around? SWG should always have been about Star Wars and trying to capture, if not all the niggling details, the broad sweep and themes of the setting. Who’s going to stick around long term? People who came for the one thing SWG exclusively has access to and that nobody, ever, can ever trump. Star Wars. The focus on PvP or alternate systems is all well and good but it’s only good until somebody somewhere else does it better. And sooner or later they will if they haven’t already.

Wow. I may have to buy this now. I played in the beta for about a week but haven’t touched it since.

Is that Right-Mouse button mappable?

I thought this whole story was an elaborate hoax, an early April Fool’s joke… until I found that there is a whole group of forums on the SWG site dedicated to discussion of the “New Game Enhancements” (NGE). :shock:

So… The whole game is essentially being redone? A single starting class, no more “mr generic” and work your way to “mr specialized” ? You will then have formal levels and no longer xp/skill trees?

What will they do with existing characters who are grand master tamers or whatever they are called now in SWG?

Yea this might spark my intrest in the game, provided of course, as previously mentioned, they do not totally screw this up.

I can’t wait to hear the full post-mortem from raph and co. My guess is SWG’s backstory is quite a lot more interesting than most games, what with firing/quitting devs, SOE’s vs raph’s vs lucasart’s “vision”, totally changing mechanics twice in a couple of months, putting a space-sim in a MUSH, and so on. There’s got to be some great drama behind the scenes.

I almost hope this revamp fails utterly just so we get to hear the story sooner.

There’s got to be something going on behind the scenes. There were so many great and brilliant ideas in SWG and then it was like the rug kept getting pulled out from under the players. Granted different groups of players wanted different things and they were mutually exclusive in many cases. But had they stuck to a Raphian notion of community building but really put that in a Star Wars context you’d have something grand.

The space sim wasn’t anything to sneeze at. It was the real deal with rendered cockpits, slick aesthetics and pure sim gameplay at higher levels. For all my moaning I got my money’s worth and then some out of SWG in its heyday. Between citybuilding and the great players involved in that and, later, multiposition ships, complete with fully rendered interiors for players to move around in, I’ve had experiences it’ll be very hard if not impossible to replicate anywhere.

But ultimately happy players don’t complain and complainers, the folks going on about PvP and class balancing and the like, got all the attention even though they ended up hating the medicine and leaving in droves as the disappointed Star Wars stalwarts did much earlier because of the weak job done presenting the themes and dynamics of the melieu.

That left elements like cities and space swinging in the wind. What do you do with a city once you’ve built it? <a coyote howls in the distance> Why have a MPS freighter if there are no goods to haul or contraband cargos to smuggle? <crickets chip>

So even folks like me who were addicted to the more (eventually) brilliantly executed aspects of the game ran out of runaway and slid off into the grass while devs obsessed over how to please PvPers and grind monkeys. Those guys, here’s a hint, will never be happy ever.

My guess is the explanation is pretty simple. Raph built a “Live a life in star wars” game. Everyone wanted a “Be luke skywalker” game. Sony went “Eh, it’s different enough from EQ, sure give it a shot.” Lucas went “WTF, everyone loves Star Wars, why aren’t more people playing.” People went “OMG, why can’t I enslave the whole wookie race with my tremendous jedi powers from the start? Jedis don’t fucking bake first!” Hence revamp 1. Numbers climb moderately to not at all because, you know, 1 year of SWG being “Live like a wookie in the trees” is hard to overcome. So, fuck it, scrap all the different and make it like an MMO Battlefront, because Battlefront is the most awesomest selling Star Wars game ever!

I’d say you’re probably right that many players did want to be Jedi but I’d suggest that folks whose obsession was playing a Jedi this week would then wander off to be a necromancer somewhere else next week. The level of interest is surface deep and their finger is always on the remote control button.

If you build for an established fanbase then you’ve got, well, look at the Republican Party (for a scary example) - they play to a base that’s going to back them up come hell or high water (aside from FEMA mishaps) because they’ve got strong core convictions about ideology and/or theology. You can screw up like crazy but they’ll still insist you’re doing a great job because they believe you’re on their side. That base might be a fraction of all possible voters out there but they’re active and vocal. They give an impression of strength which is outsize to their proportion and that attracts other people who want to be in on what’s going on.

You couple that flame right there with community building elements and systems that keep those elements vibrant and goal-oriented and many of the folks who were sucked in by momentum will stick around. These are players looking for solid online communities, regardless of genre, and may not be nearly as driven or motivated but find a level of comfort.

People like these will stick around and create lasting communities. Most folks I know who’ve stuck it out on SWG have completely given up on SOE but value the friendships with folks in the game so much they stick around and try to create their own content through events and roleplaying. They’re a sliver of a fraction of the same kinds of people who left because of the disregard for setting (suspension of disbelief) or because the PvP environment attracted some really nasty sorts and there was no way to control your own experience. Initially cities were supposed to have a banishment function or optional law enforcement (limited PvP) systems for players to administer.

I think what happened was that somebody panicked. They didn’t like the numbers and so started cooking up all kinds of solutions without any consultation with the playerbase - not that you can always consult but over time this does give the impression that you’re being taken for granted or, worse, as a long term player who likes the more innovative ideas that were sold as part of Star Wars Galaxies from the initial rollout you aren’t as important as folks who don’t give a shit and, in fact, are playing other games.

All they really needed to do was fix what was broken in a calm and orderly fashion. Yes, there were alot of dumb things like requirements for certain professions - why does a smuggler need to be a crafter? I read a hilarious sendup of Han Solo trying to make it as a smugger at SWG back at that time too. Sure, there were dumb decisions, and awful bugs and shortcomings, from the beginning but the true believers in SWG rolled with it and assumed, much like a loyal base should, that the devs would fix things in a way consistant with the setting and the product we were so vested in. But they didn’t stop with nominating Miers once. They’ve done it a hundred times now…

Well that is a nice rant, but…

What if the existing playerbase is far to small to meet target numbers? Hence radically changing the game which might totally piss off your existing players, but mgith bring in 5x that number in new players might not be a bad idea.

My problem with EQ2 and SWG is that it seemed to be designed by accountants. IE: Make advacement as slow as possible or make advacement fast but somewhat meaningless (ala EQ2). In either respect, the player gains power very slowly.

My gripes with SWG were mainly the game mechanics were very old and I had been there/done that. For example: Getting a GM Alchemist in UO was a huge grind-fest. Ok, did it a few times, got my GM tailor, GM smith, GM Foozle maker…

Now in SWG you need to make like 100 bofa treats just so you can make 100 roasted yoda snacks, so you can make 100 … Ok this is old. Very old. It sucks. I am not a hardcore crafter. I want to craft, but I do not want to be a life-choice. I want to make stuff that people will actually use, and not wait till I am level one million in crafting to do so.

Combat sucked. It was all the same crap, either they enemies shot lasers at you, or they were monsters that woudl charge at you. It was the same crap over and over and over.

Player housing was way out of controll. Anyone could have seen this happening. I feel provliged to have been in beta when you could go to the desters of Tatonie and actually see large empty spaces, unlike 2 days after release where the entire place was a clusterfuck of buildings like UO.

Basically what I am saying is that SWG brought absolutly nothing new to the table and was a mish-mash of UO meets EQ with a Starwars theme. There is no reason to play it. If they want to totally redo the game mechancis so the game is unrecognizable, good for them. It can not possibly turn out worse then it already is.

In defense of SWG, the housing problem was only really around major starports. On my server it was Mos Eisley and Coronet. That’s because if you were going to sell to folks you wanted location, location, location. So it was a forest of buildings around these places and all manner of bots wandering in the plazas shouting out coordinates for the vendors. That kind of killed player cities as vibrant locales because it was hard to make it worth your while to sell out of a player city.

Only a few had a population and enough activity to really sustain it and I can only think of maybe two that have still lasted as commercial centers - the big draw being well organized guilds and strong roleplaying communities. You have both of those and there was an engine to draw in visitors/customers. I didn’t stick around after the last CU but one improvement was being able to check on bazaar terminals for items anywhere - not just in the city proper. This could have helped merchants themselves become draws for player cities if they’ve got excellent goods and low prices.

Sure, the crafting grind was a grind but offhand I can’t think of a way you could really build the kind of rich dynamic economy SWG had, completely player managed, with an artificial system of NPC buyers and sellers. Maybe it could happen but I suspect it would kill alot of the player interaction, and the interaction is a part of community building. I can’t tell you how many great players I met because I was providing raw materials to them or looking for customized goods. Alot of roleplayers and older gamers seem to really like the crafting/surveying/speculating options open even if nobody much liked the grind. I can’t think of a worse grind myself than surveying in SWG but having done it you’ve got those skills that other players might not have patience to master. That’s the reward.

WoW brought nothing new to the table either, and it is very successful.

Don’t you think it’s possible that SOE and LA thought something like

“Hey, we’ve got Raph here, a brilliant guy who has proven successful in ultima online, why not let him set the spiritual successor to UO in the Star Wars license?”

And they did, and he did, and it turns out that the mass market really doesn’t care if you present a living breathing world, they don’t want to create their own content, and they need to be given discrete goals and rewards from their efforts at all times.

Speaking as someone who only played a crafter, they could have automated the crap out of the actual exp gaining grind without affecting the game a whole lot. Let me queue up tasks for my character to occurr in the off hours that gained me experience (since I’m just grinding anyway). That frees up my actual play time to run through looking for good quality resources and trying to build exceptional versions of products I actually care about.

The chef grind, for example, was hideous… because you can’t make anything worth anything until you’ve ground through, so you end up simply cranking out practice runs to get the exp. That’s not gameplay in any way, shape, or form. However, I was all about looking for good sources of wheat, planting my harvesters in the spots with the best yield, checking them out, etc…

Nevertheless, I agree with you for the most part. It just seems that not only did a lot of players not like Raph-vision for Star Wars, neither did Lucas. Making it more action-oriented and such makes sense, I guess, but I doubt it’s going to compare with much newer technology and game design in terms of FPS type games coming out now. So I don’t get what seems to essentially be an effort to shift it from one type of niche product with a known customer base to another, instead of simply managing costs on the former to make the current customer base profitable. Maybe they’ll get lucky and find the magic formula, but with the ongoing bad press they’re fighting a huge uphill battle to do so. Seems more like a vanity business move than a fiscally sound one, which is why I suspect Lucas’ fingers pulling the strings.

I don’t think it’s a vanity business move, I think it takes brass balls to compete with WoW and its successors in 2006 and beyond and the game needs to change to compete.

Star Wars is one of the premier licenses in the world, and it very simply isn’t being exploited properly. If SWG can’t mutate into a successful product, they’ll kill it and try again. Lucas doesn’t want a modest success. It’s a waste of Star Wars.